One of our family’s favorite places is on the Columbia River in Eastern Washington. We find it incredibly relaxing to be on the water on those hot summer days. Yes, we like the water sports and getting wet, but we also enjoy lazily drifting down river. The challenge with drifting down the river is that is easy to lose track of how far you have drifted, or how close you have come to the rocky shore or the huge rocks in the middle of the river. The calm of drifting in such a beautiful place can deceive us of danger just ahead. The Bible reminds us that the same thing easily happens with our relationship with Jesus.
I was reminded of the danger of drifting spiritually; allowing ourselves to be lulled to apathy by culture, in a recent passage from Hebrews. It reads “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1) Let me encourage you to take a moment to ponder the trust in these words. The “it” is speaking of is the specialness of a relationship with God. One of the challenges for those that have been in the faith for a period of time is to take this wonderful gift for granted. We have to be careful that we do not allow the awe of Salvation to be dulled over time. Just like the proverbial frog in the kettle, the drift speaks of a slow accumulation of distance over time. The drift is so subtle that we lose track of how far we have wandered and the eminent danger ahead.
The danger of the drift for the follower of Jesus is that it represents the compromise of our spiritual convictions. The drift is reflected in our compromise of Biblical values to the values of culture. Our knowledge of God’s truth stagnates as we become comfortable living off the basic teaching we’ve learned in the past. It causes us to take for granted the glorious miracle of God’s love toward us in salvation.
Our times drifting on the Columbia are dangerous but not as dangerous as our spiritual drift. The physical danger is limited to damage to the boat running aground or hitting rocks. The spiritual damage is the destruction of our lives, the compromise of our testimony and its impact on those we love. The solution in both situations is the same. We need to drop an anchor. Hebrews reminds us of our spiritual anchor, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,” (Hebrews 6:19.) It speaks of an anchor that is set in the sea bed of God’s truth.
Our congregation is in the middle of a study on Salvation. Let me encourage you to move beyond the basics of accepting Christ to considering what it means to be “saved.” Let me encourage you to do some digging on God’s calling, faith, conversion, regeneration, justification, sanctification, perseverance and glorification. You will be surprised how these great truths will stir your passion for belonging to the Creator!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson